Monday, July 27, 2009

Night of the Michelada

Summer in Austin. Been there, done that. This has been one for the record books, too. So hot and dry that sometimes I think I live on Tatooine. About a month ago, Blackberry Shortcake and I left this arid wasteland in search of cooler, more moist climes. We ended up in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.

I miss you PV.

When our plane touched down on the tarmac, the captain announced that it was 78ยบ at our destination. It was about one in the afternoon. We ate before we crashed. I had tacos, she had nachos; we both had micheladas. The food was good, as were the micheladas.

Tacos and nachos. Just like at home.

A damn fine michelada from Costa Vida, I mean Playa del Sol.

The michelada. This version of the cerveza preparada seems to vary in composition nearly as much as the margarita—and becoming just as ubiquitous in Austin bars and eateries. Breaking it down to the fundamental ingredients, you have ice (helada), lime, hot sauce or some sort if spice, salt (if you like), Worcestershire sauce (no thanks), and beer (slang: chela)—preferably a Mexican lager, although any lager will do. I prefer Pacifico. In the end it is yours, or mine (mi). Thus, the michelada. My iced beer. Not a bad concept. Frankly, I don't mind adding ice to a beer that is already rather watery; I would never imagine doing this to a lovely IPA or Wisconsin Belgian Red.

Blackberry Shortcake and I have enjoyed many a michelada thus far this summer. We've even been making them at home—she contends that ours are better than most that we have had out in the world and I tend to agree with her. What's our secret? What makes ours better than the store-bought options? Trechas. Yes. You read right, trechas: the chile salt that little brown kids love to put on mangos and watermelons. I swear up and down that this is the key to a great michelada.

In Mexico, however, there was no trechas. Most of the micheladas that I had had some kind of hot sauce in them. A few had Worcestershire (salsa inglesia) and even fewer were served with tomato juice and no lime. A few times, our micheladas were served with some extra sauces for you to add to taste. Brown sauce, much like the Brit's HP sauce was served, as was hot sauce and Worcestershire. I can honestly say that I enjoyed them all, yet would have preferred to have one of our trechas jobs over any of them.

Worcestershire heavy at Vista Grill.

This is my favorite photo.

Lime heavy at Mariscos Tino.

Summer drinks are funny. Actually, seasonal drinks in general are funny. I used to get all bent out of shape listening to people talk about how they couldn't drink stouts or eat heavy food in the summer. I always got the point, yet out of shear irreverence adopted the attitude of: Fuck you, I'll drink and eat what I want, when I want, damn it—which in hindsight is as dumb as every other attitude or position that I've adopted out of irreverence or for the sake of being a contrarian.

Now, not only do I see the point, I chose to accept it and enjoy these seasonal treats when they come. Like stone-fruit—why the hell would I want to eat a peach in the dead of winter? I can ask that very question about the michelada or the mojito or Campari and orange. As I get older—and inevitably wiser—I'm coming to appreciate these types of things more and more. This doing of things when things should be done. Dare I say that I almost respect the appropriateness of it all. Coming from someone who has striven to be as inappropriate as possible as often as possible, I'd say I just added a +1 to my maturity rating. However, I find it rather ironic that thinking about an alcoholic beverage can cause one to contemplate how appropriate their behavior has become. Fuck it.

Things Done Changed

Fear not, dear reader. We're still keeping it bearded and weird over here, just felt the need for a minor name change. I realized at one of those blogger events as I said aloud the former title of this blog that it was rather long and clunky to say. "The Life and Times of a Bearded Weirdo" doesn't even imply that this is a food blog, right? We don't plan on changing the variety of the content that gets posted here though—"As if you post any content. . ." You joke.

Seriously though, folks, things have been crazy busy around here. Work and food and work and food and work and beer and wine and food and work. You see how this goes. There has been more reading of words than writing going on, as well. So are the way of things. The way of the Force. Anywho, there are good things a coming (which, after all, is what you get for waiting oh-so-patiently).

Bacon and potatoes, bakin' in the Sun! Besos.

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